Mothers, Jeans and Self-Esteem

Welcome to another week, folks, and a new theme. Always a pleasure to be here and share with you! Thanks so much for stopping in 🙂

mothers day flowers 2014   Mother’s Day Flowers from all my men–I’m too short to get a good image if vase is on table, lol.

Joanna n baby boys  I’m thinking my boys were one and three (?) in this image. Now the big one is the little one, and the little one is the big one. Where did the time go?

Joanna n Niconus 05-11-2014  Older son and his ma on Mother’s Day–the other guy goes camera shy. 

joanna n hubby Mothers Day 2014   Hubby and me on  Mother’s Day :). Now why didn’t I insist on a photo with both my boys????

So last week I shared about jeans, finding that elusive, “perfect-fitting” pair (I’m sure I’ll look for a loooong time, lol) and some encouraging news on that topic via Charlotte Hilton Anderson’s blog, The Great Fitness Experiment. (Among the reasons I’ve always liked Jennifer Lopez too. In many ways, she put those of us whose back ends like to uh…hang out more than others on the map. She also very kindly helped designed a line of  jeans made to fit said folks. Thanks, J-Lo! )

Rather than drag y’all through a longer-winded post than usual last time, I figured I’d pick up with a related topic today. (I promise, people, I’m working on keeping these shorter. )

Much as I love jeans, I hate shopping for them. (I’m to the point where I’m NEVER in the mood to shop for anything—eh, maybe shoes every once in a while. I always seem to gravitate toward the same colors and styles anyway. Seriously, how many red jackets or purses can one person have?)

A couple of years ago, I was killing some time on a Saturday morning. Strolled into the local TJ Maxx and wandered over to the jeans rack. I wound up trying a tan pair of skinnies just for the heck of it, in a brand that tends to fit me better than others.

Danged pair actually fit okay, even in the trouble spots. Long story short, I didn’t like them enough to buy them. I did, however, feel encouraged b/c a pair of “skinnies” almost fit well enough to be a choice.

Met up with my mom later that day. Feeling good, I told her about the jeans. Her automatic (paraphrased) response? The jeans fit because they weren’t cut right and/or had stretched.

No way on the planet—in her brain—I could have lost a pound or two, or have walked and exercised my way into that cut.  Then I wonder why shopping for clothing is more distasteful than it should be, lol.

So go figure, a few weeks ago, Mama actually complimented me in a pair of skinny jeans. I believe she phrased it something like, “I don’t know if you lost weight or it’s the pants, but those look good.”

Whaaaat???????

Mama almost knocked me out. (Feel free to go a little LL Cool J here.  What can I say? My latest TV addiction is NCIS Los Angeles.)

Joanna n mom Mothers Day 2014   Okay. We’ll let Mamma have a spot on the blog b/c she said I looked nice in my jeans. 

So, my blogger-friends, shall we go there? Shall we talk about how our self-esteem relative to clothing all comes back to Mom, lol? If that’s the case, what helped you get past it? (For me, a single book changed a lifetime of perspective. This related blog post tells that story.)

Here’s the link to the post that got me started on this blogging jag. (It’s over at Charlotte’s blog.) I also came across this assortment of seemingly simple exercises  Charlotte authored for Shape magazine. I hope to have checked them out more closely by the time this post airs.

Have a great week, everyone!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rockin’ Jeans and The Great Fitness Experiment

Welcome to the second full week of May, folks. Hope all of you are well.

Poor hubby should be in recovery by now. The anniversary/wife’s birthday/Mother’s Day annual event is over again. Every year the poor guy gets slammed.

Back to business: I subscribe to more blogs than I can keep up with, but I do try to hit on each every now and again. This one absolutely made my day. It proved I’m not out of my mind—okay, maybe just a touch less than I thought.

I always enjoy posts by Charlotte Hilton Anderson, author of The Great Fitness Experiment (book and blog that go by the same name). I’m sure she is far fitter and way more fitness-savvy than I’ll ever be, but she also tends to be very real. A post she aired about two weeks ago caught my attention big time.

She talked about jeans, about how hard it is for those who work really hard at building and sculpting their thighs to buy jeans that fit them well and comfortably. Believe it or not, those with “musciliscious” thighs (which I’ll never have), experience problems with jeans very similar to those of us blessed with “ample” body parts and the so-called-healthy pear shape. Gapping waistline, “sausage legs” when fabric hugs thighs too tightly—those of us who love jeans know how elusive that perfect-fitting pair is to find.

She also mentioned a company named Barbell Apparel that is getting ready to launch a line of jeans that fit well-muscled folks. I figure, said company can only benefit the well-endowed crowd. (Here’s a Washington Post article that shares a tad more detailed, for those who are as excited about this as I am.)

Getting back to my questionable sanity, Charlotte helped me feel a lot better. I’ve recently gotten into some barre workouts. (Some related posts, including a link to my favorite video of same, are listed below.)

In the past month, since I added the barre workout(s), I’ve been feeling really good physically. As I commented on Charlotte’s post, however, I’ve also been noticing that my never-will-be-musciliscious-thighs seem to be growing despite the exercise efforts I’m putting in.

Perhaps they are, for once, maybe for the right reasons. Who knows for sure?

My weight has held now for about five years. Yes, it’s more than I want but still a good 25 pounds better than when I started making lifestyle changes.  The evening before I wrote this post, I nervously put on a pair of pants that had been sitting in a bag for two years—one of those pairs I had hoped to “get into” after losing 5-10 pounds.

I’ll be danged if I didn’t do just that–with my weight still where it was when I bought them, I’m pretty sure.

Joanna--04-26-2014 (Of course real estate between the waist and the knees is undercover–it’s all about illusion, right? 😉 )

Anyway, this is a big thanks to Charlotte for helping me realize that I’m not totally crazy—and for inspiring me to try on those pants. BTW, a pair of black jeans that fit awesome were in that bag too. Those just got hemmed at the tailors! Yay for jeans that fit well!

Rather than drag this one out, next week I’ll talk about Italian mothers and how they influence one’s self-esteem so well, lol.

So, where do you stand on this topic? Do you like jeans? Does fitness make you feel good or frustrate you? Did you ever consider that fitness had drawbacks?

Here are the links I mentioned above:

Sometimes It’s About the Littlest Things

Can One Book Change Your Life?

Healthy Snacks? I’m Thinking Not–Part 1

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result In Inspiration!

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration! (Part 2)

My (current) favorite ballet barre workout 🙂

Have a great week folks! Please don’t hesitate to SHARE should you like the content or feel moved to do so in any way!

Until next time,

Joanna

 

 

Fan Fiction? Bad? Hmm…

Happy Middle-of-the-Week-Day! Hope this post finds you all well, open to possibilities and looking forward to great things!

The other day I happened on Janice Hardy’s awesome blog: The Other Side of the Story. Novice and more experienced writers will find a slew of excellent articles designed to help with any/every aspect of writing, submitting and marketing one can conceive. And tips are easily applicable, even if you’re not sitting keyboard-side.

As I browsed through the responses to a post, I noticed a comment that resonated with some of my current writing struggles. I emailed the commenter, who replied.  She touted herself as ‘bad me’ for writing fan fiction. As my response to her grew, I realized I had a blog post on my hands. So, this one is for my newest online writer-friend—almost—exactly as I wrote it in the body of the email (before I copied and pasted it into the blogging software ;)):

“No such thing as ‘bad’ associated with fanfic, and I’ve already done what you want to do from yours–launch an original piece. I started with a very popular, very dramatic/high-stakes two-part episode of a very popular TV series. What was great about that is I didn’t have to generate the story. The work was done for me, lol, and it gave me a great forum to start learning how to get description, dialogue, etc, on virtual paper. I also got some nice feedback from readers/fans, who felt the original characters I’d introduced into the story line were woven into it well.

So, sixty pages later, I was done, but one line from one of the show’s characters kept nagging me: how did my character meet up with the show’s (and her) hero?

My original story took off from there. I borrowed one character and what should have been one chapter became a short (but full-length) romance around him and my heroine. From there came flashbacks that wound up being NO MATTER WHY, my debut novel with The Wild Rose Press. Its sequel, NO MATTER WHAT, should have been the ‘bridge/transition story’ between NMWhy and my (original) fanfic. Since I realized the character arc for my heroine was done, my fanfic (a highly polished first draft) is now slated as the springboard for a related ‘prequel’ story showcasing minor characters introduced in NMWhat. A completely original part 3—and completion of the trilogy—is in the works (and my current problem-child wip, lol).

As per the fanfic, two very cool things came of that:

(1) I started getting positive reader feedback (especially from the webmaster) and a small following. I even got my own page on that particular fanfic site. There were at least 700 entries posted and I became one of the eight she chose to showcase and make more discoverable. Talk about a confidence boost!

(2) One of my climactic scenes–totally original–took second place in the first contest I entered. The judge’s feedback was ridiculously simple: “Go forth and publish.” Gave me the guts to go ahead and write the query for NMWhy.

So you see, writer-friend, never judge your writing efforts, no matter what form they take. As your writing journey takes shape, you’ll find where each stop on that expedition fits in the grander scheme of God’s plan for you as a writer!”

Your turn! Please take a moment to share some of the unexpected turns and twists your writing journey has taken. Do you judge yourself, or try to follow the flow of your learning experience and see where it leads?

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping in, and thanks, EP, for inspiring this post.

Happy creating,

Joanna

Coney Island’s Infamous Cyclone and Weight Loss (?)

Welcome, everyone. Getting off to a late start this week–I’m starting to get how retired people are sometimes busier than those doing a 5+ day nine-to-five. Give someone a few extra hours and everyone wants a piece, lol. 

Wimbledon wrapped up pretty well with the always awesome Roger Federer claiming his SEVENTH title there. Hey! He just tied Rafa’s French Open title record. Hmmm…

Photo courtesy of therisinghollywood.com

Back to business! Positive living expert Diane Lang is here to talk about a topic I deal in daily (a little better these days than in the past, I hope). Since I’m sure this is a pretty universal topic, figure I’d share it here. Thanks, Diane!

    

The weight loss roller coaster—Diane Lang

When we lose weight we expect to feel great! We just reached our goal and dream! It’s a great accomplishment yet many of my clients lose all their weight and still feel unsatisfied with their life. They won’t feel the happiness they expected. They get a short boost of happiness from the weight loss but after a few weeks or month the happiness fades.

A common question that my clients ask: I lost my weight why don’t I feel better emotionally? My clients will explain that they expected a rise in their self-esteem and happiness but for some this does not happen. Unfortunately, this is more common then we think. Here are some reasons for our lack of happiness:

1. Unrealistic expectations – we assume weight loss will end of all of our problems. That weight loss would solve everything. The truth is if you gained a lot of weight, there is a reason behind it. If you lose weight but don’t deal with the reason you gained it in the first place, you won’t feel happier. Odds are you will gain the weight back.  Example: I have clients who ate due to loneliness. If you diet and lose the weight but don’t become more social and get support you won’t feel happier and you will eventually fall back into your old habit of eating when you feel lonely. Weight loss is great, but always look at the bigger picture.

2. Fear of success – I lost the weight, now what? We are all aware of the fear of failure but I think a lot of my clients never realize you can also fear success. A lot of clients don’t know what their next goal will be. They have put so much effort into their weight loss that they don’t know who they will be as a thin person. What will be their new identity?

Make sure to know who you are as a person. Your weight doesn’t equal who you are inside. A lot of my clients identify themselves as being ”fat”. That is who they think they are. They become comfortable with their identity. When you shed pounds, you should also shed your past baggage. Start the next chapter of your life.

3. Enjoyment – I have watched some of my clients become so obsessed with dieting and weight loss they never get to enjoy the journey or their accomplishments We need to have positive reinforcement along our path of weight loss. Make sure to reward yourself with praise and even a gift now and then. Recognize your accomplishments; be proud of your hard work. Remember, you deserve to be happy!

4. Media – be careful of the media. TV, Magazines Internet, etc all promote that happiness = thin (and young) yet we are all different. Never compare yourself to anyone else. It’s a myth that being thin means you are happy. I hate to say this but I have “thin” clients who are depressed. Just be you! We are our happiest when we are ourselves. Be true to you!

Questions? Email Diane: lifeline36@aol.com

Join Diane on Thursdays starting July 12 at 7pm for this awesome 8 week class:

Thriving Not Just Surviving

Burlington County college, MT Holly campus

609-877-4520

Monday, July 16th at 6:45pmEmpowerfitness- Letting go of Anger workshop

Lawrenceville, NJ 609-882-4500

Tuesday July 17th from 3-5 or 6-8 Warren Community CollegeLet’s Talk About Bullying

908-689-7613

Monday, July 23 at 7pm – Create balance & Relieve Anxiety – Union County College, NJ

908-709-7601

Thursday, July 26 at 6pmRetirement University – Morgan Stanley, Paramus, NJ

Now if I kept that kind of schedule I’d be thin (???).  And since that so ain’t so, stop back on Friday for an easy summer recipe sure to please!  Have a great day!

Joanna

Finally! That New Series I Promised: Discipline V. Control

Discipline or Control?

I’m dedicating this one to my sweet friend Indi—from whose wisdom I gain so much, and who was kind enough to let me know she’d be looking forward to this post! (Has she been patient, too. Little did either of us know a single page of thoughts would morph into…ten?)

Yep. This one will be a series, friends and followers. One that will probably cover a minimum of five posts. Please feel free to chime in as often as you like. All thoughts welcome!

As many of you who read my musings regularly know, my boys are now teens. The older is fifteen, the younger thirteen. On almost any given day you’ll find as few as one and as many as seven of his friends in my home. During Christmas vacation, nine of them dropped in for an early afternoon ‘breakfast.’ One had come in from another state for the holiday, and was staying with a cousin where a total of eleven kids were hanging out for the week. (Two of those guys didn’t want to leave their video games. Off track as usual—sorry! Point is, I get to know these kids, and they start feeling like my own.)

As a mom, I often ask myself Am I raising them right? From the day my guys were born, my biggest struggle has always been finding a balance between disciplining them vs. being controlling. Just maybe, I’m starting to see the fruits of all these years of (frequently) agonizing over which one I am in any given situation that calls for me—or hubby—to step in and exercise parental authority.

Please bear with me through this disjointed trip, set to be delivered in a minuimum of five posts. (I know I get long-winded. Being someone who gets excited when I happen onto a short post elsewhere, I’m trying to do the same in my own blog home. And yes, seems I’ve fallen short again…)

Let’s start with definitions.

According to Dictionary.com, discipline has several definitions; among those training, punishment and instruction to a disciple (i.e., student).

Control, on the other hand, is to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command. (This one can give me the heebie-jeebies when I see it in action, or how its negative effects can manifest themselves.)

Real-life story illustration: On the Saturday before Christmas, we’d just gotten home around 8:30 PM from a get together at my sister’s-in-law. Within the hour, I’m hearing kids’ voices outside calling out to my older son. I figured they were coming from another friend’s, who lives three doors down from me. They came in for a minute then headed back out.

One of the girls often complains about how strict her parents are, especially her father. After they left, hubby asked if that particular dad knew his daughter was out walking around at that hour. I had no clue.

Didn’t think much about it until the next day, when one of those who was out the night before was over with her mom, and I made mention of my husband’s comment. This girl’s mom went off a bit on her daughter, after she realized her daughter and the other friends wandering around the night before had essentially been stranded at a neighborhood restaurant (which amounts to a 25-30-minute walk from my house). Sounds like a disagreement between the kids at the restaurant resulted in their ride being cancelled by the boy whose dad was supposed to provide it.

My immediate thought was: my kids would never have thought twice about calling me to pick them up. The girl whose father is strict may have been afraid to call. My son’s ‘girlfriend’ stated, “We didn’t want to bother you,” and the boy with them rarely asks for a ride from his parents. (His stepdad watches his toddler brother and his mother works on Saturday nights. His father lives about a half-hour away.)

The situation made me feel really good about my relationship with my kids so far. When they were really small, I found it very tough and often terribly frustrating to manage (a.k.a. control)  busy boy behaviors. Seems like then it was all about them getting to do what I wanted or expected, and I often felt resentful those times they did not. (Sometimes I still feel that way, lol.)

Too many times, I grappled with whether I was being permissive or letting them make choices out of respect for them as people, especially after I’d set a boundary then found myself discussing/negotiating it (a supposed no-no in the way of effective parenting, or so I’ve heard here and there).  Maybe what appeared to be negotiating then was my way of thinking aloud and making sense of the process as I lived it. (I still do that and my poor kids have to listen to it, lol. Good thing that older one is patient!)

Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in this process. We’ll talk more about this in the subsequent post. In the meantime, please go ahead and add your thoughts and experiences on this subject. Not an easy one, but one that is manageable with a shift in mindset.

One final request: if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a second and click the  Facebook, Twitter or any of the share buttons below? Reblogging is nice too, and helps get word out to others in cyberspace. By working together, we can each get our content and our names out to that many more people. As always, I thank you!

Until next time,

Joanna

Far-Reaching Words: Impact and Resonance

Hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. (They’re never long enough :)) Thought I’d share some thoughts appropriate to a PEM (Positive Energy Monday) to start off the week!

Not too long ago, within the space of two days, at least two people told me how different things I said to each one resonated with them.

One person went so far as to tell me I’d “saved her life” when I told her she might feel a certain (negatively-perceived) way about a given situation for the rest of her days. She felt that freed her, as if those words gave her permission to feel the way she still does this many years after the inciting string of incidents.

Another person was dealing in anxiety over another situation and talked to me a bit about it. She also was very clear about ‘not feeling ready’ to address the issue directly by taking certain suggested steps she knew—from her own experience—would be helpful. She said I asked her, “What do you want for your daughter?” For whatever reason, that simple question worked at her end.

Funny. Flattered as I was by both people I couldn’t pinpoint either occasion. Of course I was very glad someone was moved or touched by something I said.

This also brings me back to something I know I’ve shared here before, and frequently quote, when chatting with others who hold back. This applies to writing, interactions with others, etc.

I attended a workshop where multi-published author Jane Porter spoke. Ironically enough, what resonated with me tied into this very topic of touching others. I was sitting in the front row, close enough to see her eyes suddenly appear glassy-wet. Her voice turned very passionate as she told us to never underestimate the power of our words and who we might reach by putting them out there.

Makes me think too, of those occasions when I was on the receiving end of those types of comments. My favorite came from a playground mom whose daughters have frequently shared classes with both my sons since kindergarten.

We were talking about exercising and how to make time and/or stick to a routine. This woman stated her husband HAD to be out the door at six-thirty every morning or he wouldn’t make it to work on time. Since she was a stay-at-home mom whose husband worked long hours, she needed to get in her daily run in before he left for the day.

“I had to be back before my husband left for work. My shoes were next to the bed, and my feet were in them before my eyes were open.”

She told me that while we waited for our kids to exit school when our older ones were in third grade. That was six years ago and I think of her every time I’m not in the mood to reach for my sneakers. She motivated me to move then and still does. Whenever I get the chance, I remind her how her words impacted me.

The most powerful (and probably life-changing) thing someone said to me came from a coworker at my first job, someone close in age who is an occupational therapist too. He is Asian, brilliant and an excellent healthcare professional. During what was—to this day—the lowest time I ever experienced in a work setting, a time when I doubted every skill I ever had and was even asking for employment applications at the toll booth I drove through daily to get to my job site, this man saved my professional life.

That day, I was getting ready to change rotations and feeling as if I’d been demoted. Another co-worker and friend, who had only four months more experience than I was going from a first-level supervisory position to the next. Due to lack of confidence and resultant mistakes I made from being too nervous to even ask questions, I was lucky I had my job. (My director liked me.)

I was supposed to be giving report to this guy who would be taking over my outpatient cases. He waited until no one else was around and very quietly stated, “You have better skills. She just knows how to be organized and look better.”

I went into that new rotation with a different attitude. Very soon, I was in counseling and attended some groups where people with similar issues shared and networked. Within a few months I achieved a first-level supervisory position. Nine months after that, I left that hospital to take on a department of my own—a one-person show that I thoroughly enjoyed for the next five years. Interestingly enough, my first day in that new position I had to make a pair of splints that I’d goofed up terribly in my previous job—badly enough that my Asian friend was told to take over and make them for me.

In my new job, all I did was drape the material over the patient’s hands and let both those splints take shape on their own. First try was a perfect fit. Blew my mind how that skill was there; the right setting allowed it to simply flow. (Maybe a topic for another post?)

Your turn: how have you impacted someone and/or how have they impacted/inspired you?

Wishing everyone a wonderful day,

Joanna

Real-Life Game-On Participant!

Happy Thursday, people! Hope all is well with all of you! Looking forward to getting my life back once the US Open Tennis Championship winds down as well as a visit from a pair of Aussie cousins who happen to be in town! Always fun!

And, while we’re dealing in fun, this is why I love the internet. You just never know who you’ll come across, especially once you get yourself all a-Twitter! (Look for an upcoming post on how powerful a social media tool Twitter is, but be warned, I have yet to write it, lol.)

Moving on! Allow my newest on-line friend to introduce herself AND a fun approach to dieting I knew nothing about! Welcome!

Hi! My name is Joanna Clark Dawyd, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be Joanna Aislinn’s guest today.

While browsing on the internet one day, I came across a book, called The Game On! Diet, by Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson.  I read reviews, and I was intrigued by the concept. I posted an event on Facebook, inviting some friends I thought might be interested in making healthy lifestyle changes.  To my amazement, twelve people wanted to play!

Now, I must warn you that the book is full of swear words! Usually, I wouldn’t recommend something like that, but to me, the message of this book is worth overlooking a plethora of f-words.

The game involves making healthy choices, in food, exercise, and a few other areas.  But to provide motivation, it turns those choices into a competitive sport!

We began the game on May 16th, with two teams.  The prize at stake: a delicious dinner prepared by the losing team for the winning team. Not all the players knew everyone.  Some only knew one other person.  But one aspect of the game is building a support network, so we each got five points per day for communicating with both teams.  We sent emails back and forth every day, full of trash talk, support, and meal suggestions.

Throughout the four weeks of the game (my team lost, but it was a close race!), I lost about5 pounds.  I discovered that it can be fun to exercise!  Who knew? My kids and I had crazy dance parties, and they “helped” me exercise using the Wii Fit. I rode my bike a lot more than I would have otherwise, taking the kids along in the trailer. I even attempted running a few times.

The most important part of the game and the book is the flexibility.  Exercise is simply defined as activity that raises the heart rate and lasts for 20 minutes. And unlike other diets, this one allows for one entire day off, plus an additional meal off from the rules. ( I still can enjoy my Tim Horton’s Iced Cappuccino!)  The rules also allow 100 free calories of anything each day.  So I can have BBQ sauce on my steak, or butter on my toast if I want too.  This makes it much more likely that I’ll stick to the rules.  If you’re already on a weight loss food plan, you can use that plan and still play the game.

After our game ended, I decided to keep playing.  I printed out more score sheets, and my weight has been going down, for the most part, ever since. I do give myself a little more lee-way than I would if I were competing, but that’s ok!  It’s ok not to be perfect. It’s not about the score, or even about the weight or my size or shape.  It’s about feeling healthy.  It’s about having energy to play with my kids.  It’s about walking up the stairs without panting when I get to the top!

If you enjoyed this and want to read more of my rambling, visit my blogs! I write aboutbooks and writing as well as creativity and DIY home decor. (Here are some of Joanna’s creative works–love Crayons! Joanna is also find-able on Facebook and Twitter, too.)

       

Joanna, thanks for this opportunity!

So much fun to have you, Joanna!

And always a pleasure to have all of you stop in! The Game-On! Diet sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve found that the only way to keep up with exercise and fitness is to incorporate things you truly enjoy (i.e., tennis and walking for me) as well as easy, effective ways to see results. (That’s why I keep up and vary the small weight workout.) The ‘time off’ concept is invaluable too, as is allowing oneself the luxury of consciously letting self- discipline slip every now and again. Keeps me on track in the bigger picture.)

Now we turn the spotlight on you, visitor-friends! How about sharing what works for you in the weight/fitness/healthy lifestyle practices? Don’t be shy! If what you share resonates with one person, wasn’t it worth the comment? (Maybe even make a post out of that, too ! :))

A great day to all,

Joanna